Graduate Studies: Careers

Graduate Job Opportunities

Masters Degree Job Opportunities

Most employers regard a master’s degree as at least one year of experience beyond the bachelor’s degree. Typically, an engineer with a master’s degree will generally receive a higher level of decision-making and engineering responsibility than an engineer with a bachelor’s degree will (and should earn a proportionally higher first year salary). An engineer with an M.S. is expected to have a deeper level of knowledge and may be assigned more open-ended or more technically complex problems to solve. While some people continue on to a master’s degree immediately after a bachelor’s degree, others may delay plans for graduate school. Our M.S. program can be tailored for those working full-time in local industry and provides some flexibility for those who are full-time employees making it possible to advance within one's current field or develop expertise in a new field.

Ph.D. Degree Job Opportunities

It takes a long-term commitment to obtain a doctoral degree or Ph.D. In the AEM department, the Ph.D. normally requires 3-5 years of study beyond the masters. The nature of study is also different from the masters. A Ph.D. student spends a low percentage of time in class and a high percentage of time doing independent research. Typically, the Ph.D. program trains an engineer to be able to initiate, perform, and direct independent research. Usually, Ph.D. students collaborate closely with an adviser on the research direction and progress.

Job opportunities for engineers with Ph.D.'s are often quite specialized. Graduates of the AEM program go on to work at universities, research laboratories, and companies. In general, a new Ph.D. is given a high degree of responsibility. In industry or at a government research lab, the Ph.D. graduate might work independently, as part of a team of Ph.D.'s, or as a leader of other engineers and technicians. At a university, the new Ph.D. would probably be involved in both research and teaching.

grad student presenting

As the only engineering department in the state granting degrees in aerospace engineering, we are the primary source of the engineers who power Minnesota’s aerospace industry.  Our graduates are found in key positions in Fortune 500 aerospace companies with a strong presence in Minnesota, such as Honeywell International, Northrop Grumman, United Technologies Aerospace Systems and BAE Systems, as well as smaller Midwest aerospace companies such as Cirrus Aircraft and Rockwell Collins. 

In addition to training the aerospace workforce, our faculty has strong ties with the local aerospace industry including federally supported collaborative projects and as consultants. AEM faculty serve as technical experts for agencies statewide, including MnDOT, MnDEED, Aerospace Industries Association, AirSpace Minnesota, the DNR, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Indeed, the influence of AEM faculty and graduates goes well beyond the aerospace community. For example, our graduates are also hired by companies such as 3M, Medtronic, Boston Scientific, St. Jude, and Seagate. Some of these companies and educational institutions that have employed our recent graduates are listed below.

Expand all

Companies & Educational Institutions

Current job opportunities within the department

If you are an alum of the department and would like us to add your employer, please email us

The CSE Career Center offers career services to CSE students and alumni. CSE career counselors offer guidance to help you evaluate your options.